Warrington Wolves: Notable absentee from departure list hints at new contract for international

Josh McAllister
Matty Russell, Warrington Wolves

Matty Russell celebrates his try against St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium in April. Photo by Craig Thomas/News Images.

Warrington Wolves confirmed six departures on Thursday following the conclusion of the 2023 Super League fixture, with Round 25 marking their last home game of the year.

Peter Mata’utia headlined the list, ending a two-year stint at the Halliwell Jones Stadium following his move from Castleford Tigers alongside former boss Daryl Powell.

He has made 54 appearances for the side to date, featuring in almost every position for the Wire alongside his preferred spot at centre.

Fellow outside-back Greg Minikin will also depart the club, having also arrived ahead of last season, recovering from an ACL injury to make his debut in July. He has been linked with a move to promotion hopefuls Featherstone Rovers for 2024, via Examiner Live.

It had already been confirmed that hooker Daryl Clark would be leaving the side to take up a three-year deal with St Helens to fill the void left by retiring James Roby.

Prop Thomas Mikaele will leave the club after returning from Australia on a short-term deal, alongside confirmed exits for youngsters Jack Darbyshire and Aiden Doolan.

However there was one notable absentee on the list in Matty Russell, who had an option in his contract for 2024.

It would appear that extra year has been activated by the club, providing depth and experience on the wing. He has made 11 appearances in 2023, scoring three tries, with competition against Josh Thewlis and Minikin for a starting spot, with speedster Matty Ashton having missed just two Super League games to date this year.

Russell, a Scotland international, returned to Warrington for his second stint in November 2022 on an initial one-year deal. He had spells with Toronto, Leigh and Toulouse in between, and joined as a free agent following the latter’s relegation from the top flight.

NRL and England legend Sam Burgess will take on his first ever head coaching role with Warrington next season on a two-year deal, already busy assembling his squad for his debut season.

Papua New Guinea international Rodrick Tai has signed a 12-month contract with an option of a further season, able to feature on the wing, centre or back-row.

Wesley Bruines will make the switch from St Helens to reunite with Burgess, while back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon is set to join the side from Newcastle Knights on a three-year contract.

England and Ireland international centre Toby King will also return following the expiration of his loan spell with Wigan Warriors.

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